Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be extremely painful, and even dangerous. When you know what you can expect, you can take proper precautions to ensure your safety, health, and comfort.

Symptoms can begin within hours after you have your last drink. Early symptoms are usually, but not always, minor.

You can:

  • develop a headache
  • start shaking
  • vomit or become nauseated
  • perspire
  • develop anxiety

However, even if your early symptoms are relatively minor, you should not develop a sense of false security. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can become much worse, without warning.

You may experience a combination of physical and psychological symptoms.

The former can include:

  • a high fever
  • diarrhea
  • migraine
  • weakness
  • tremors
  • heart palpitations

Some of the latter may include:

  • hallucinations
  • a sense of unrealness
  • depression
  • panic
  • fear

Delirium tremens can also occur.

The DT’s are characterized by:

  • uncontrollable shaking
  • extreme confusion
  • hallucinations
  • fever
  • extreme terror

Without medical intervention, the DT’s can result in death.

Withdrawal can also lead to other life-threatening complications. Seizures, stroke, and heart attacks can occur when you are going through withdrawal.


If you have made repeated attempts to quit drinking, you may experience a problem known as kindling. This means withdrawal will be more severe each time you go through it. Not only is it dangerous, it can lead to permanent brain damage.

Protracted Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

If you get through the initial stage of withdrawal, you can expect protracted alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Although they are rarely as severe as acute withdrawal, they can undermine your ability to live your life.

Some of the symptoms that may continue are:

  • sleep disturbances
  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • disorientation

You are also likely to experience alcohol cravings for an extended period of time.

Giving up alcohol is wise, but it is unwise to do it alone. First, there is no way to know in advance how severe withdrawal will be for you. Second, there is no reason to suffer, even if your symptoms are not life-threatening.

Your comfort, health, and safety will be the priorities in a detox center. You can get through alcohol withdrawal symptoms with the least amount of risk and difficulty. It can prepare you for your treatment program, and help you stay sober afterward.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are never pleasant. However, you do not need to take any unnecessary chances. The staff at a detox center will support you throughout the entire process. A sober life can be yours.

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